Hey all! Prepare for a very long post. But there's pictures! So yay! Since my fiance and I bought our house, we've been tabling making a huge chicken coop to house our feather-butts. This has been put off, sadly, because the house is practically unlivable at the moment and addressing that problem has been our priority. We been continuing to live in our current place of residence and have been commuting on a daily basis between work and school to fix things. But now that the weather is changing... we can't afford to put off the coop anymore lest our tiny, 13-strong flock freeze their beaks off! When we began the long, drawn-out, and horrible process of purchasing this particular house (which we had to have for location reasons, it was just too perfect) we put together a horrible monstrosity of a coop with the spare bits of junk the previous owner had left lying around. We had to do this because we were becoming the new owners of a few free-ranging chickens the man had left and they were wreaking havok at the neighbor's birdfeeders. The "coop" part was an old box pallet, that (I think) fireworks were shipped in, turned on it's side with a few boards nailed to it to make a wall and door of sorts. The "run" was random bits of 2x4 banged into the ground with chickenwire and bits of fence stapled to the outside. Over the weeks we had to add onto it to make more space. It worked/works, but it's hardly a thing of beauty. You can see it behind the trailer here: Not a pretty sight, to be sure. So, we finally figured we need to get this permanent coop going. After picking a spot, we went about figuring out what we wanted to do with it. Whatever it was, it had to be really strong. There's a creek on the backside of the property that likes to flood and while where we chose isn't in the greatest flood threat range, we weren't going to take chances, so that was the first issue to tackle: making it flood-proof. The previous owner had a deck up on stilts that was completely smashed to bits in the flooding from last hurricanes that hit the east coast so a stilt-design wasn't what we wanted. That, and we weren't keen on having a huge gap between the bottom of the coop and the ground that the chickens/other things could get into that we couldn't and making the stilts 4 or 5 feet high off the ground was out of the question. So that's how we landed on the question "why not make it like a tiny little house?" Concrete block and cement floor foundation it was! Strong and sturdy so that it couldn't be washed away in flood water, and even if the water did make it into the coop, the damage would be negligible. All right! Stage One! The Foundation! I forgot to take pictures of the very first part of this, but it wasn't too complicated. We laid out where we wanted the coop (which would be 8 feet by 8 feet) and dug a trench that was about a foot deep and a foot wide in a square. The grass that was dug up was shaken free of its dirt and thrown in for the chickens to dig in and eat. There were worms, too, and I think that was their favorite part. Next, we packed the trench with a few inches of gravel, tamped it down nice and flat, leveled it, and then slapped in some mortar and laid down the first course of cinderblocks. As a disclaimer, we are in no way professionals, so we neglected to consider the extra bit of space to butter the sides of the blocks and we had to nix doing it. Still looks nice though! Next, the second course of blocks! We test-fitted all of the blocks first and then moved them to the side of where they'd be placed (as seen below). We're going to be placing 2 inch paver stones on the tops of the blocks to seal up the holes, though before that we're going to be recycling some old styrofoam insulation from the house to stuff it in the open spaces. It won't make a big difference as far as keeping heat in goes, but every little bit counts! The first picture below shows my fiance (yeah, we're young'uns!) packing the styrofoam into the spaces. The first bag of mortar managed to cover all of the second course of bricks and over half of the pavers! You can also see that our laying wasn't totally perfect and things got shifted a bit, so we had to fill some gaps with mortar. We weren't too concerned since this isn't a huge, live-in space for people or anything. After this we dug out the middle and I squirted some crack-filler into all of the joints in lieu of properly spacing and mortaring the blocks in the first place. Woops. Then we had to fill the whole thing with gravel in preparation for the cement slab that will become the floor of the coop! Now, onto the cement! We bought 25 80 pound bags (2000 pounds total yeesh!) of cement mix and, considering that we would probably be dead within 10 bags if we tried to mix it ourselves, rented an electric mixer from Home Depot. We're lucky, too, because it was a brand new mixer that no one else had used yet! Awesome! It worked great. So, four hours and sore muscles later we had mixed and poured all 25 bags. I'm a bit of an idiot and didn't get pictures of the smoothing out of the wet cement or even of it after it had been done! Instead, here's a picture of the whole shebang after we covered it with a tarp for curing. Hopefully I'll have pictures of the finished slab soon! Okay! I went out to the house to work on the coop some more. Everything looked to be in order with the cement except for a low spot that was pooling some water near the back side. No big deal! I proceeded to clean that up and then brushed down all of the concrete blocks. Time to paint it up using Drylok masonry waterproofing paint! The floor needs one more good coat and then we're going to be putting down epoxy floor coating or something similar. My cat, Rebel, stopped by to "oversee" the whole painting process. That's it for now. Thanks for reading! More updates soon!